Before we get too carried away patting those Labour MPs on the back for withdrawing from the list process in order to ‘give way’ to fresh talent, someone should take a closer look at clause 356 of the Labour Party constitution:
The Moderating Committee shall rank list nominees by a process of exhaustive ballot taken singly for at least the first sixty (60) positions, thereafter optionally by preferential voting in bands of five (5), e.g. positions 61-65, etc.; and pause for an equity review after each five (5) position ballots are completed. For the avoidance of doubt, each equity review shall include the electorate candidates likely to be elected at the relevant level of Party vote. Maori on the Regional Lists and the Te Kaunihera Maori list shall be included in the equity review at each stage. (My emphasis)
What this means is that when the List Moderating Committee stopped to do an equity check (which they are required to do every five places) they had to take into consideration those candidates not standing on the list, but nominated in seats that Labour was more than likely going to win.
This, consequently, meant that the list needed to have more females on it than males simply to come up to the 45% target mark – which lead to headlines like “Labour’s female-dominated list“, and provides more fodder for those who are keen to attack Labour over the gender quota (and, dare I say it, ‘manban’).
So, while Trevor Mallard et al were looking like the good guys who stood aside (to the point that Kelvin Davis seems to think he owes Mallard a beer), I’d question whether their motives were really that selfless.
There are many excellent candidates on Labour’s list – Liz Craig, Deborah Russell, Willow-Jean Prime, Jerome Mika, Virginia Andersen, Claire Szabo, Michael Wood, Hamish McDouall, and Richard Hills all deserve to be MPs. Unfortunately, on current polling it’s extremely unlikely that any of them will make it into Parliament this election. In reality, the only way the old guard in safe seats can give way to fresh talent is to retire from Parliament.